Mentoring

How did you get so smart?

Chances are someone, at some point in your life, took an interest in you and passed on a little bit of wisdom that they had gained and, for some unknown reason, thought you needed to know.

Maybe it was during your first job while in high school, or from a leader of a youth group you joined, or from your first supervisor in your first real-life job after college.

And this new found wisdom stuck with you, and over the years have been add to from others who have found you worthy of their advice.

So now, you have expanded and enhanced this wisdom to the point where you really seem to be smart.

Mentoring

Whether you knew it or not, these people who you have encountered have been mentoring you, and now as a business leader and entrepreneur, it is time for you to do the same.  It is time for you to select a handful of promising young adults and pass on your wisdom so that they know what you know and can be successful in their own right.

To be a mentor in today’s business world requires action on your part.  Mentoring is not simply telling people what to do but requires time, effort, and patience.

Here are six action steps you must take to be a good mentor.

  1. The first action is to BUILD a relationship. Why would anyone want to learn from you unless you have taken an interest in them and show what you have to offer?  These potential mentees need to respect and want to learn from you.
  2. Second, you need to RECOGNIZE their strengths and weaknesses. Your job is to help them to reach their potential, and the first place to start is to consider what their strengths and weaknesses are.  What are their interests in their school work?  Do they have outside interests such as sports or gaming, and do they display personal characteristics that could be beneficial to a business career?  Are they hard working or easy going, gregarious or quiet?  Do they display leadership qualities?
  3. Third, you need to EARN their trust. Earned trust is displayed once they start coming to you for advice and to help.  There is a difference between an employee who works for you and does what you ask, versus an employee who comes to you for advice about bigger, more important issues.
  4. Once trust is earned, then you can begin to IDENTIFY goals and start to outline and select specific actions they can take that will move them forward on their goals. It is this step where your business wisdom becomes important to them; they can see how it has impacted your life and how they can apply it toward reaching their goals.
  5. CHECK in. You have built a wonderful relationship, and it is up to you to occasionally check in and question them on their progress; to hold them accountable for the choices they are making.  Many of the best mentoring relationships last a lifetime.

The Bible

The Bible contains great examples of mentoring, and I suggest you read about these skillful and powerful biblical mentoring relationships.  Jethro and Moses (Exodus 18), Moses and Joshua (Exodus 17, 24, 33; Numbers 11, 13, 27), Naomi and Ruth (Ruth 1:7-18, 2:17-3:6), Eli and Samuel (1 Samuel 3), and Barnabas and Paul (Acts 9, 11, 14) are all great stories from which we can learn.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:9.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.

When we mentor someone, we are not only passing on verbal wisdom. Since we have built a trusting relationship with this person, they are constantly learning from our actions and our practices. They are witnessing us in action, and everything we do becomes a learning experience.

Mentoring is a great responsibility and is not an action to be taken lightly.  We need to live what we teach.  And the easiest way to make sure that we are living a life acceptable to be taught is to follow the example and teaching of Jesus.